Author: Karl Philipp Spitta (1801-1859) Composer: Johannes Schmidlin (1722-1772)
1. God has built on firm foundation His holy city and the nations In unbelief against it stand. Yet it shall endure forever, And men shall see with fear and wonder Who governs it with mighty hand. The God of Israel Within its gates does dwell; Hallelujah! Rejoice with glee, For blest shall be Whose priv’lege is to dwell with Thee.
2. Zion’s gates the Lord is blessing; His grace upon them He’s dispensing, And makes their bars and crossbeams fast, Fills its citizens with pleasure, Rewards and blesses without measure Those who will trust Him to the last. How noble is His grace! With patience He always Bears His children. O City rare, So rich and fair, Which God does as His own declare!
3. Great and holy is the teaching His messengers in thee are preaching, Such as no other nation hears. God’s own Word is thy salvation; He gives His Spirit’s inspiration, By which all darkness disappears. We hear from time to time Thy gospel’s lovely chime: “Grace eternal. How sweet the sound That here is found, Where crowns of endless life abound!
4. Dry your tears, ye hearts nigh broken, Of Zion it shall yet be spoken: “Her citizens in number grow!” Men shall see with fear and wonder How God builds Zion; they shall ponder The grace and strength He doth bestow. Lift up your souls and hearts; The nations’ day departs. Then His day comes; Zion shall rise, And Judah’s eyes The One it pierced will recognize!
5. Mother thou of ev’ry nation, That here hath sought and found salvation, O Zion, thou shalt truly be. What a chorus of rejoicing Shall once the saints in thee be voicing! The Fount of Life is found in thee. In thee the waters well That every thirst can still. Hallelujah! From death’s dread cave, From dangers grave, No one but Zion’s God can save!
6. Zion’s city, God’s creation, Thou shalt be mother of the nation That finds eternal life in Thee! Songs of praising and rejoicing From Thee to heaven will be rising; In Thee the stream of life shall be! From Thee the waters burst That quench the burning thirst. Hallelujah! Save us from death, From all distress, Thou, Zion’s God of righteousness!
Special thanks to the Apostolic Christians who diligently labored to keep their rich musical heritage alive when most other denominations forsook it in the challenging battle of changing cultures. Thanks be to those souls who labored to write and compose this treasure of praise, many now only known to GOD!